News & Reviews: Events

California Banjo Extravaganza

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Bill Evans, Ryan Cavanaugh, and Riley Baugus celebrate the artistry of the five-string banjo November 12–15 with four concerts and a mini-camp.

by Dan Gabel
November 03, 2015

TheBill Evans CA Banjo Extr.jpg fourth annual California Banjo Extravaganza will feature Peghead Nation banjo instructor Bill Evans, Ryan Cavanaugh, and Riley Baugus headlining four concerts and hosting a Banjo Mini-Camp. The show will travel to Santa Cruz, Winters, Palo Alto, and Berkeley this November 12 – 15.

Also on the bill is an all-star band with Peghead Nation instructors Chad Manning and Sharon Gilchrist, along with mandolin great John Reischman and guitarist Jim Nunally.

Bill Evans teaches Beginning Banjo and Bluegrass Banjo on Peghead Nation, and is the author of the popular Bluegrass Banjo for Dummies and Banjo for Dummies books. He has recorded and performed widely, both as a solo artist and with folks like Fletcher Bright, David Grisman, David Bromberg, Dan Crary, Peter Rowan, J.D. Crowe, Tony Trischka, and many others. Bill started the California Banjo Extravaganza to celebrate the artistry of the five-string banjo and the many approaches to playing the instrument.

Ryan Cavanaugh is a North Carolina musician who honed his jazz chops for over a decade as a member of saxophonist’s Bill Evans’ band Soulgrass. He’s won every major banjo contest in the world, including MerleFest and Rocky Grass, and he is now focusing on his own compositions, which he performs in both acoustic and jazz fusion contexts. He is leading the pack among young instrumentalists pushing the progressive boundaries of the five-string banjo.

Riley Baugus was inspired to start playing banjo at the age of 10 by the traditional Appalachian music that he heard in the Blue Ridge mountains. After learning his craft from old-time greats like Tommy Jarrell, Dix Freeman, and Robert Sykes, Riley has played with old-time string bands like the Red Hots and the Old Hollow Stringband, and has recorded on his own for Rounder and Sugar Hill records. He sings on the soundtrack to the Academy Award winning film Cold Mountain and performs on the Grammy award winning Raising Sand by Alison Kruass and Robert Plant. Freight11.15.15.jpg

Don't miss this celebration of the art of the five-string banjo! The dates and locations are:

Thursday, November 12: Santa Cruz, CA, The Rio Theatre for the Performing Arts, 1205 Soquel Avenue, 7:30 p.m. show, 6:45 p.m. doors. Info at

Friday, November 13: Winters, CA. The Palms Playhouse, 13 Main Street, 8 p.m. show. Info at

Saturday, November 14: Palo Alto, CA. Redwood Bluegrass Associates, Etz Chaymin Hall, 4161 Alma Street, 8 p.m. Info at

Sunday, November 15: Berkeley, CA. Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, Banjo Mini-Camp with Ryan Cavanaugh, Riley Baugus and Bill Evans, 2020 Addison Street, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Info at

Sunday, November 15: Berkeley, CA. Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 8 p.m. show, doors at 7 p.m. 2020 Addison Street. Info at


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